The Busan International Film Festival kicked off last night with an event demonstrating its ties around the region and beyond.
Hours after being named the recipient of six Golden Horse nominations in its native Taiwan, Doze Niu’s Paradise In Service opened the festival. Niu’s film addresses the sometimes fractious relationship between China and Taiwan, which Niu described in interviews last night in terms of a family whose members are separated – a theme much understood in Korea.
During the opening ceremony, Hong Kong director Ann Hui – whose The Golden Era was the recipient of five Golden Horse nominations earlier in the day – was presented with Busan’s Asian Filmmaker of the Year award. The Golden Era stars Chinese actress Tang Wei, also present at Busan’s opening ceremony, who’s this year become Koreans’ favourite Chinese actress after marrying Korean director Kim Tae Yong.
Capping off the presentations Busan co-founder Kim Dong Ho was awarded the French Legion of Honour, an upgrade on previous French awards for his longstanding support for the arts.
Alongside the BIFF, the usual line-up of sister events are either already up and running (the Asian Film Academy) or waiting to kick off in the next few days (the Asian Film Market, BIFCOM). Next week Michael Bennett will present Pokarekare Ana, produced by Catherine Fitzgerald, at Busan’s financing event,the Asian Project Market.
All up BIFF will screen between 311 and 315 titles from 79 countries, depending on which press release one refers to. Over 100 will be world or Asian premieres.
BIFF’s 19th edition runs 2 – 11 October.